You may want to get rid of belly fat because you want to look better in your favorite dress or pair of jeans. But did you know that losing weight around your abdomen can also have a huge impact on your health? Reducing belly fat can cut your risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here are some effective ways you can trim the excess weight around your middle to look your best and protect your health:
1. Pick up some weights.
Years ago, it was thought that trimming the waistline meant ab exercises, but research shows that the best belly-fat trimming workouts involve weight training. When we lift weights, we increase muscle and build up strength, and that cuts down fat all over, including our midsections.
2. Eat foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
Eating for a flat belly doesn’t mean depriving yourself by eating only low-fat or no-fat foods. On the contrary, some of the best foods for reducing tummy fat are delicious foods that contain healthy fat. Foods such as nuts, avocados, and olive oil are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). These fats have been shown to be helpful in reducing your risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, and are thought to help you slim down, particularly in the belly. Research shows that including MUFAs often in your diet helps you fight belly fat.
3. Fuel up with fucoxanthin.
This weight loss supplement is a seaweed extract that activates a protein called UCP1, which helps burn abdominal fat. One study found that people who took 300 mg of fucoxanthin daily were able to lose up to 12 pounds of belly fat in 16 weeks.
4. Get some whole grains in your diet.
Including oatmeal, popcorn, whole-grain rice, and other whole grains in your diet is not only good for your cardiovascular health, but may also help cut down the fat in your belly. Research shows that people who eat more whole grains lose more abdominal fat than those who do not include whole grains in their diets.
5. Eat an apple a day.
That old saying about apples keeping the doctor away may have some truth to it — and apples may also keep your belly flatter. The fiber in fruits like apples and berries keeps you fuller longer so that you’re less likely to overeat at mealtime or snack on unhealthy options between meals.
6. Eat bigger meals to rev up your metabolism.
In one study, women who ate three well-balanced meals a day were able to lose up to nine pounds of fat from their abdominal areas in six months. Sounds like not needing to snack in between meals certainly pays off!
7. Banish stress.
Stress — especially when it’s chronic — has been linked to an increased risk of having excess belly fat. Chronic stress causes the body to produce too much cortisol, the stress hormone, which is thought to lead to an increase in abdominal fat. To reduce stress, try meditation, which has been shown in a study from the University of California, San Francisco, to lower belly fat when practiced regularly.
Next, check out some seriously inspiring weight-loss transformation stories below:
Don't stress about dropping pounds. Instead, try these quick tricks, all of which you can seamlessly add to your life in under a minute.
Once a day, take a supplement of vitamin D. Not only will it help protect your bones, strengthen your muscles, and lower your risk for cancer; a new study has found evidence that one pill a day can help the body block the effects of cortisol, a stress hormone which leads to excess tummy fat.
Snack on nuts
Snack on something that will aid your weight loss, like a handful of mixed nuts. Nuts are full of healthy fats, which help you feel full more quickly, boost your energy, and prevent you from reaching for chips when you’re feeling peckish.
lemon and mint water
Many times throughout the day, stop for a minute and sip: Staying hydrated can aid in weight loss by keeping you satisfied and energized in between meals. Throw slices of lemon and sprigs of mint into your H20, both of which will add a touch of calorie-free flavor and sweetness as well as aid in digestion.
Go on, reach for a bite (or three!) of dessert. A weight-loss study from Georgia State University found that if you eat something sugary with your meal, you remember it much more vividly than if you skip the sweets--and remembering what you ate can curb a tendency to over-consume food.
There are pieces of produce that are worth more for your total health than others, according to a recent report published in the journal PLOS. These multi-tasking fruits and veggies, the researchers found, not only boost your overall health but also have been proven to help you shed pounds. And at the very top of the list of winners? Bright, juicy blueberries.
Put a mirror near your table: Scientists found that eating eating unhealthy foods (like chocolate cake) in front of one causes foods to be "less tasty"--and leads to weight loss.
Stop for a moment in the morning--and make it every morning--and put some food in your belly. According to the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, skipping breakfast has been associated with excess body weight. (P.S. Your best bets for noshing are healthy carbs combined with fiber and protein; think peanut butter on toast with strawberries or a parfait made with low-fat yogurt, whole-grain cereal, and berries.)
When you're finished with dinner, light a scented candle in your home. Not just any scent will do: The aroma of vanilla has been shown to lessen sugar cravings.
Study after study has shown that you can actually reap greater benefits of exercise by working out in short, high-intensity bursts known as intervals than you can exercising for longer periods at a slower pace. Why not see how many jumping jacks you can do in a minute--and turn it into a daily habit?
Though the calories you burn doing it are minimal, chewing gum can be a great weight loss aid because the action may help distract your mouth and your brain from thoughts of food, which in turn helps curb your appetite for mindless snacking.
Add ginger to your tea
Add ginger to your tea. Ginger root plays a key role in weight loss by reducing your body's production of insulin, the hormone responsible for raising blood sugar levels, according to the European Journal of Nutrition. Another key to ginger's pound-shedding power is that it helps you feel fuller and helps burn fat rather than just helping you lose water weight.
Stand up straight
Standing up straight and practicing good posture can help you look and feel thinner. Why? When we slouch, we let our bellies hang out and tend to look heavier than we really are--but standing tall also allows you to strengthen your core muscles (which in turns help burn more calories). The best part? It takes less than three seconds out of your day. Try it right now!